The Rhode Island General Assembly on Wednesday ended its 2012 session without taking up debate on bills related to gay marriage.

One such bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Arthur Handy in the House and Senator Rhoda Perry in the Senate, sought to legalize marriage equality in the state.

Rhode Island lawmakers last year abandoned efforts to approve a gay marriage bill in favor of civil unions over the loud objections of many gay rights activists.

Governor Lincoln Chafee signed civil unions into law but added that he supports equal marriage rights for gay couples.

A second bill would have allowed gay residents who traveled outside of the state to marry to divorce in Rhode Island. Lawmakers never voted on the measure.

A bright spot, however, came last month when Chafee signed an executive order which recognizes the out-of-state marriages of gay and lesbian couples. The order is significant considering that Rhode Island is bordered by three states where gay couples can legally marry – Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.

A joint resolution introduced by state Senator Frank Ciccone which was aimed at overturning the order made little headway.